The Lufthansa Group has announced that from 1 December, the cheapest European point-to-point fares available on select airlines will only be available via NDC and direct channels.
Economy Light fares offered by Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa and Swiss for European flights will no longer be available via the GDSs, though the policy will only apply to the UK’s regional airports and not Heathrow and London City.
The group says the addition to the NDC Partner Program in the UK builds on its NDC Smart Offer, which was launched for the market in May 2018.
NDC Smart Offers comprise the Lufthansa Group airlines’ most competitive fares and ancillaries in the UK and Ireland. The group claims one important feature is a “consistent price reduction” of £17 roundtrip or £9 one way for its European Light and Classic fares on point-to-point routes, including those from London, Manchester and Dublin to Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna and Zurich.
Speaking at a press event on Wednesday morning, Andreas Koester, senior sales director for the UK, Ireland and Iceland at Lufthansa Group, said its airlines had seen a big uptake in NDC since the Partner Program launched, chiefly because of the increasing number of agencies – the majority of which are TMCs – integrating NDC content into their own booking platforms.
Koester commented: “Our goal today, as well as when we introduced NDC three years ago, is to pave the way to a more powerful, innovative and cost-efficient distribution landscape. This is of the utmost importance because the travellers of today, and tomorrow, expect to receive airline content in the same easy, digital and transparent way that they are already used to in other parts of their life. Our objective is to ensure that our customers experience Lufthansa Group’s premium airline promise at any own and third-party purchase points.
“We are now seeing a strong understanding within the UK trade about the value of an NDC connection. With a comprehensive NDC infrastructure now in place, and improving all the time, the number of NDC bookings is growing strongly. With our announcement today we are focusing our efforts on providing a proper commercial incentive for the use of our NDC channels.”
Commenting on today’s announcement, Jill Palmer, CEO of Click Travel – a Lufthansa partner and early adopter of NDC content – said: “NDC enhances our customers’ ability to get the widest choice of fares and content all in one place. On travel.cloud, our proprietary booking platform, NDC content appears seamlessly alongside traditional content. Last month, 42 per cent of our airline bookings went through direct supplier connections and of Lufthansa Group bookings, 70 per cent were NDC, so it’s great to see our customers benefitting from the content right now.”
David Bishop, commercial director of Gray Dawes Group, which has recently gone into production with Lufthansa Group NDC content, added: “We are committed to delivering the optimum content to our clients, which will allow us to retail Lufthansa Group fares and offers. The distribution landscape is changing rapidly and we have a solution that offers this content to our clients across all our booking channels – offline, online and mobile. As the Lufthansa Group evolves its distribution strategy, Gray Dawes is ideally placed to benefit as our investment in technology delivers multi-source content capabilities.”
Travel agencies can use Lufthansa Group’s free-of-charge NDC online platform SPRK via the NDC Partner Program website. Koester said there are currently more than 70 agencies participating in the program.